Teen with dual US-Israeli citizenship arrested for global JCC threats

A Jewish teenager was arrested in connection with a series of bomb threats that have rattled Jewish institutions and community centers across the U.S. and another countries, Israeli police said Thursday.

A 19-year-old Israel resident has been charged with telephoning bomb threats to dozens of Jewish organizations in the US, possibly including recent calls to Buckhead and Dunwoody organizations. He has been tied to "most" calls placed as part of a coordinated worldwide campaign of bomb threats targeting Jewish institutions in the United States, Europe and New Zealand.

Almost 150 bomb threats have hit JCCs, Jewish day schools and other Jewish institutions since the beginning of the year, causing the evacuation of dozens of Jewish community centers.

"Today's arrest in Israel is the culmination of a large-scale investigation spanning multiple continents for hate crimes against Jewish communities across our country", Sessions said in a statement Thursday morning after news of the arrest broke.

He allegedly warned the US-based Delta Air Lines of a bomb on one of its airplanes, which led to an emergency landing of the flight. Israeli investigators found that numerous threats led back to Israel, though the suspect is not believed to be responsible for all of the threats, according to The Jerusalem Post. And some recent anti-Semitic acts were apparently committed by others, like threats against Jewish centers for which a Missouri man was charged, and the vandalizing of Jewish cemeteries.

The Israeli-American teenager suspected of perpetrating more than 100 bomb threats against Jewish institutions used technologies including Google Voice, a call forwarding service, and Bitcoin, a digital currency, to make the threats.

The FBI confirmed that "the individual suspected" of the threats had been arrested early Thursday in Israel but provided no other details.

A lawyer for the teen, who was apprehended in Ashkelon in southern Israel, has claimed that his behavior is related to a brain tumor, which caused him to be rejected by the Israeli Defense Force.

Jewish community centers in the USA and elsewhere may be able to breathe a sigh of relief. "He used different computer systems so he couldn't be backtracked".

President Donald J. Trump came out late last month to condemn such threats against the Jewish community. The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation said in a statement that the operation to locate and arrest the suspect was conducted jointly and it commended Israeli law enforcement for their efforts.

  • Leroy Wright